ST. PAUL, Minn. -- A few hours after a landmark Supreme Court decision, State Senator Scott Dibble walked into the capitol with a large smile on his face. "This has been a lot of hard work over a long period of time," the DFLer from Minneapolis aid.
Senator Dibble carried the same sex marriage bill in the Senate this spring. Governor Dayton signed the legislation a little more than a month before Supreme Court Justices struck down part of a federal law that denies federal benefits to married gay couples. Dibble says Minnesota momentum carried over. "Politicians kind of foisted this negative conversation on us, Minnesotans rejected it and took this whole conversation back for themselves," he explained.
Republican Senator Warren Limmer introduced a constitutional amendment less than 2 years ago that would have defined marriage as between a man and a woman. The measure was rejected by voters in the 2012 election. On the day of the Supreme Court ruling, the Senator from Maple Grove wondered about its significance.
"Unfortunately just like Roe V Wade, it's not going to change people's opinions. It's not going to introduce universal acceptance," Limmer said. But he also says the he doesn't see much of a chance for change in Minnesota law either. "Quite honestly I think the state is basically stuck with it," he said, about the same sex marriage law.
"I don't think the conversation's over here," Autumn Leva from Minnesota for Marriage said. The group unsuccessfully tried to defeat the same sex marriage bill in Minnesota in the spring. Leva notes the Supreme Court ruling demonstrates that there is no federal, constitutional right to same sex marriage. "Even in states where same sex marriage has been enacted like Minnesota, citizens still have the right to be involved in saying what marriage policy should be," she explained.
OutFront Minnesota was also claiming a qualified victory. "We've been doing the work of trying to make equality a reality in Minnesota for 26 years," Executive Director Monica Meyer said after watching the ruling come down from Washington. Meyer was quick to explain that dozens of states have rejected same sex marriage.
"We're really looking forward to the day where we stop having these piecemeal laws that discriminate and really make the lives of same sex couples and their children much more difficult," Meyer concluded.
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